The Fireball 100 builds upon the simple, no-frills approach established by its 60-watt predecessor. Four 6L6s burn inside the jet-black enclosure, dishing 100 watts of power while being monitored by an internal fail-safe system. The amp has two channels for clean and overdrive. Both channels share a 3-band EQ, dual master volumes, and push buttons for separately boosting the brightness, low end, and midrange. There’s also a built-in noise gate that’s adjustable from the back panel to keep feedback from the gain channel in check.
Thanks to the amp’s simple controls, I had little trouble dialing up satisfyingly crisp cleans and heavy tones that burst with an authoritative, devilish roar. The EQ controls were so sensitive that for most applications, I barely had to move them out of the confines of the 10 to 1 o’clock range. And with the clean channel activated and a Stratocaster in hand, tweaking within that range allowed me to move between smooth blues lead work, warm jazz progressions, and midboosted rock rhythms. Plus, there was enough gain on tap from the channel’s gain knob for covering everything from lighter ’70s rock to more modern and aggressive rhythm tones.
A Les Paul driving the second channel highlights what the Fireball 100 is really designed for—pure, unadulterated rock and metal fury. The gain control’s lower range has a snarling bark and very detailed midrange that retains presence when backing off the guitar’s volume. Bringing up the gain and the master volume unleashes a wickedly hard-hitting overdrive that gets tighter and fiercer as it gets louder. Digging in with a tight thrash rhythm firms up the tone even further, with the great note definition that Engl’s are known for. This combination of voice and feel might turn away players that like a little sag and don’t favor superquick attack and stiff response. But if you’ve been craving the unique voicing of high-performance German amplifier engineering, the Fireball 100 is hard to top.
Watch Ola Englund demo the amp:
See more Monsters of High Gain 2013 reviews and videos: